Faith and Walking through Dark Times

I look forward to spending time each day in God’s Word. It is a time to hear and learn from Him. Except, I have a confession to make. I skipped reading a few chapters this week. Yes, I did. I knew the story well enough that my heart just did not have the courage to face it—as if that would change it! Sometimes there are situations in life that are the same way, difficult things I just want to stick my head in the sand and wish it away. But, as we know, that is not the way life works. We have to face it with faith and move on through. At the time, I just couldn’t bear to read the sad tale of Solomon’s desertion from the ways of the Lord. Hearing stories about people making poor choices in their lives makes me sad as well. Not reading those chapters did not take away the reality of Solomon’s actions, nor the subsequent fallout that happened to Israel because of his sin. As I went back and read them, I could only purpose in my own heart to learn from the results of his actions. His actions led to dark days in Israel. It is my heart that my decisions do not lead to dark days in my own life, or in others.

I Kings 11 begins the story of Solomon’s heart turning away from the Lord by His foreign wives and their gods. I Kings 11: 5 In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable God of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father David, had done. It saddens my heart to read this. It saddens my heart to hear of people who I love and care for, walking away from the fullness of their connection with the Lord. I can’t control or make choices for others, only for myself.

It’s been a rough week for many. It’s felt like darkness is encroaching from all sides. But the good news is we have choices; and we have authority. We can choose to use the authority God has given us, or we can wallow in self pity.

After I received a telephone call with some very disappointing news, I began to declare: “Satan, I’m done. I’m done with your workings. I’m done. I’m done. I’m just done. Back off. Back off in Jesus Name.” A pretty simple prayer—but it was all I could say. And it’s how I was feeling. I wasn’t just done for myself, but for so many others who are dealing with difficult situations.

Are you experiencing some dark, difficult days? Do you know someone who is going through trials and tribulations? I come alongside you and declare that Jesus reigns. He reigns over everything. At His name, every sickness must submit. At His name, Satan must back off and back out. At His name, freedom shall come and His light shall invade every dark place. We see the subtly that Satan used in Solomon disobeying God’s law and marrying foreign wives. They snared him and lured him away from his first love. Father, I thank you for opening our eyes to Satan’s sneaky ways in our lives. I ask that you lead us and guide us. Keep us from the evil one and deliver us from temptation. Though we walk through dark valleys, I ask that your rod and staff protect and comfort your children. I thank you we do not have to be afraid of dark places, for even there you are in our midst. I thank you for grace, mercy and conviction; so if we are experiencing temptation you will show us the better way. I speak light to every dark place. I speak peace to every place of confusion. I speak hope to the hopeless places.

Father, I know there are parents, children, friends, and relatives who have made poor choices, as our example Solomon has done. I ask that you lead them out of their sin and back on your path. I pray that you will give wisdom to those who are walking in the light to help guide them back to you. I thank you, Holy Spirit, that you are working when we cannot work. We know you love the backslider. We know you love the sinner. We know you love us. Thank you for working all things together for your good, In Jesus Name, Amen.

Faith and the Need for Wisdom

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:17.

I love this scripture. Don’t you hope someone is praying this for you? I pray for wisdom often, not only for myself but also for my children and grandchildren, our church leaders and of course our governing officials. It is something I don’t think we can really have enough of!

The culture in our country struggles with truth. Black and white doesn’t seem to exist, only shades of uncertain gray. As believers, we need not be afraid of speaking the truth, but we need godly wisdom. Jesus, our most wise example, amazed those around him as he answered questions that were sent to trap him. I am always shocked to see how deftly he was able to see the bigger picture and address the root issue. When the Herodians asked him, ‘is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus knew these men were trying to trick him. So he said, “You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a coin used for paying the tax.’ Then Jesus asked, ‘Whose picture is on the coin? And whose name is written on the coin?” The men answered Caesar’s’. Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesars’s. A brilliant answer. I probably would have fumbled around trying to answer that question. This was a political question. As Christians, we need to know how to answer such questions as well.

Then the Saducees came along, asking him a hypothetical question about seven brothers who died after each was married to the same woman. Who would she be married to after the resurrection? Jesus’ answer was so amazing again that they were left speechless! ‘Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. for when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect, they will be like the angels in heavenWhen the crowds heard him, they were astounded at his teaching. Matthew 22:29-33. They were seeking to trap him with doctrinal questions. We need to be solid in our belief so that we can answer with biblical truth. This takes time and intentionality, but it can be done.

The third entanglement the Pharisees set for him was an ethical trap. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? “Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. Matthew 22: 36-40. He did not get entangled in minutiae, but again saw the bigger picture.

In each of these scenarios they set a deliberate trap. But Jesus discerned the trap and avoided it. I know the same spirit that set the traps through these people is still at work today. We must be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. One of my pastor friends told me a story this week. Apparently he had a person walk into his church dressed in drag. The person wanted to know if he was saved. My friend suspected a trap and thought a moment. He then asked the person if he could ask him a question. After receiving an affirmative reply, he asked him: Who are you serving? Yourself or the Lord? The person got up and walked out the door. This is the type of wise response we need to walk in–wisdom that comes from on high through the Holy Spirit.

We do not have to be intimidated by the ways of our culture. We need to study to show ourselves approved and be ready to answer with His wisdom, leaving the results to Him. James 3:17 reminds us that the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Let us remember as we seek His wisdom, it comes with His character. Beloved, we can do this. Let us pray for each other for His wisdom.

Father, I thank you for imparting your wisdom to your people, so we can better engage and help our culture know your truth. Thank you for giving us courage to answer questions with your truth and not be afraid of being entrapped by the evil one, for we trust you. In Jesus Name, amen.

Faith and “Blank”

I call out to you and you answer me. Jeremiah 33:3

Dear Father, today I feel blank. I feel uninspired. I lack Your direction. I need Your help. I am tired and confused. I am so grateful that You are not. Even when I am weary, You are strong. When I am simply walking in my seemingly mundane routine, You are still moving in my life; doing Your good work. Because that is Your character. You are the amazing God that has chosen to involve Yourself in Your creation’s life, and for that I am so thankful.

I choose to trust You today to encourage others throughout my life. Father, there are those facing overwhelming difficulties. I ask You to help them. I thank You that You are a God who helps us in the small things as well as what looks big to me. You do not differentiate between the two.

Please send your healing power to my friends and family who need your healing. He sent his word, and healed them and delivered them from their destructions. Psalm 107:20 Please touch their bodies and bring strength.

I thank you, Father, for sending wisdom to the troubled. I thank you for showing them their strength they have in You. I pray for them the prayer Asa did against Israel’s enemies. Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God. “O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us O Lord our God for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you. 2 Chronicles 14:11

Father God Most High, I praise You for what You are doing today, right now, in this moment. And I thank You that You are here to listen to all of us pour our hearts out to You. Thank you Lord! Amen.

Faith and the Gift of Respect

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

Respect something we always want to receive, but not a gift we always want to give. Respect has many differing aspects. It naturally happens when we have a deep feeling of admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. When we admire someone, it is easy to respect them. But what about those we see as not having gifts or qualities or achievements? Maybe the homeless? Maybe those who serve us? Men? Women? Children? Those who don’t have a high school degree? College? The single? The divorced? The widowed? Those of a different race or political slant than you? The rich? Or those poorer than you? Those in prison? The drug or alcohol addict?

There are so many variables that we make the choice to respect or dishonor. As I was thinking about the need for respect in our society on so many levels, I had to do a heart check in my own heart. Ouch, it wasn’t fun to allow the Holy Spirit to uncover my failings. I have my own struggles, which the Holy Spirit is helping me with.

Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer. Live your lives with great reverence and in holy awe of God. Honor your rulers. I Peter 1:17 TPT It is difficult to recognize the value of every person. Our culture has lost the heart of what it means to respect others. There has been a resurgence in trying to encourage people to be kinder, which I applaud, but I think it must go deeper than that. It is a heart issue. But it is also an action issue. Respect is a verb and a noun. We pass on respect when we give respect. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, the Golden Rule is so applicable here. Every one desperately wants to be seen, admired and appreciated. And we have the opportunity every day to respect everyone we interact with. It is our choice to give them this great gift.

Unfortunately, media and social media model disrespect and disdain. Fathers are ridiculed, elected leaders are mocked and we see the nuclear family as an outdated anomaly. Traditional marriage is referred to with contempt. Children treat parents with disdain and openly insult them. We wonder why this is modeled in our culture. Rudeness has become celebrated!

Please be careful what you watch, see and listen to. It does have an effect. Teaching your children to honor their parents as the leaders of the home is out-dated, but it is still biblical. But we must respect our children as we teach them. We must model respect of our spouses, no matter if there is a disagreement. If there is a separation or divorce, we must learn to honor them in their role. This takes maturity and the help of the Holy Spirit. Watch your language and tone as you talk to your children.

I remember as a child, my mother telling me to respect her. I remember always muttering under my breath, if you deserved respect I would give it to you. This was very childish and shows my immaturity. I now know she deserved my respect, simply because of her position. I had to grow up a lot before I really comprehended that concept.

I think it hurts our Father’s heart when we disrespect those He created. We can’t change everyone, but we can change ourselves. We can grow in our ability to give the gift of respect. It is an excellent tool for sharing the gospel. It opens the hardest hearts. Disdain closes a heart like a shut clam. If you harbor disdain toward your co-workers, family members or even church leaders they will feel it. Take the time to cleanse your heart through examination and repentance. Remember, Proverbs 6:16-19 details a list of six things God hates, which includes a haughty eye. A haughty eye is looking down on others condescendingly. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought to, and we look down our nose at our neighbors. This is something our God flat out says He hates. Should we be doing it? I think not.

Father, please help us first learn to respect You and Your ways. Forgive us for holding disdain and disrespect in our hearts toward those you have created. Help us pray for them, trusting you are moving in their lives, as you did in ours. Thank you for convicting us of any areas where we withhold respect through past hurts, disappointments or our own prejudices. Cleanse our hearts today and help us give the gift of respect to everyone. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Faith and Receiving Words of Life

If you have been struggling with anxiety or stress—I encourage you to read the wonderful words of Jesus in John 14. As I read this chapter, I felt peace, hope, and joy flood through my spirit. His words were so comforting. It was like a refreshing drink on a hot day.

Don’t worry or surrender to your fear. For you’ve believed in God, now trust and believe in me also. My Father’s house has many dwelling places. If it were otherwise, I would tell you plainly, because I go to prepare you a place to rest. As I read these few words, I pictured Jesus talking to His friends and me. I heard Him encourage them not to worry or surrender to their fears, because they have believed in God and now they could trust and believe in Him also. At this point, I simply gave Him back all my worries and concerns. My adult children and their various parenting, health and life challenges; my own health and its struggles; the cares of those I am close too; plus the culture concerns etc–I just released them back into His care. What a relief I felt.

When I came to the place, I go to prepare you a place to rest. I thought, oh my, how wonderful. It is ok to get tired in this world, because we will have a special place already prepared for us to rest when we get to heaven. Can you hear His voice sharing this with His disciples? Imparting words of hope, life and strength, understanding that they really did not need to worry or be afraid. He is speaking those same words to each of us, even today.

And when everything is ready, I will come back and take you to myself so you will be where I am. Won’t that be amazing? When everything is ready—not sure how or what that looks like in heaven? Do you? The God who spoke the universe into being is taking time to prepare a place for us. Do you think our loved ones who have gone on before are helping prepare for us? This is all a mystery to me, but somehow so comforting.

Life is full of challenges for us all. Take a moment to reflect again on Jesus’ Words: Don’t worry or surrender to your fear (The Passion Translation) Or the more familiar: Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (ESV) The Amplified Version: Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me. Can you picture Jesus speaking those words directly to you this day? He is. He is telling us to not be afraid, discouraged or downhearted. He is telling us to look up and remind us that the trials of this life will pass away. He understands them and wants to help us with them. Do you find yourself today at the tipping point between faith and fear? I encourage you to choose faith. It is a much better choice!

Father, I thank you for loving us, and for the Words of encouragement we find in Your Word. Thank you for helping us embrace them and believe them. I thank you for your strength, vision, and encouragement as we walk through life’s challenges. In Jesus’ precious Name. Amen

Faith and Being Prepped for Opportunities

Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Opportunities come to each of us. Sometimes we choose to ignore them, sometimes we choose to take advantage of them. Many times when opportunities we come, we don’t feel prepared. I know the Holy Spirit wants to prepare us for those opportunities, but unfortunately we don’t always let Him. We will listen to the BIG commandments (don’t kill or steal) but ignore some of the ‘smaller’ ones—especially how to treat one another! But if we want Him to use us, we need to pay attention to them all. Right theology is important of course, but so is learning to cultivate a tender heart. If we want to make the most of our God-given opportunities to represent Him, we need both. Sometimes I think we miss opportunities because we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to prepare us.

Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. These few verses are quick to read, but difficult to really employ. I am trying to practice clothing myself with tenderhearted mercy and kindness. As I choose to love those around me, I discover God brings me opportunities to love and encourage others. This past week my brother-in-law passed after sixty-three years of marriage. Obviously, it is quite a change for their family — especially my sister. My heart is so sad for them. As I prayed, Lord what can/should I do? How can I help them? At first I was at a loss for what to do. Then my tender heart kicked in and by His grace, I put aside my situation and responsibilities and asked what do they need? Someone to come and be there.

So I asked, can I come? It is a four-hour drive from my house to theirs. But I came. Please do not underestimate the power of showing up. I am so glad I went. Having lost my own husband helped me understand their need. She and her daughter were grateful just to have someone be here. This is where gentleness, kindness and humility are so needed. Practicing these virtues in our everyday life makes it easier during tougher times. When we walk in tender-hearted mercy daily, it softens our hearts to help others in their time of need. Then, I asked her to come home with me for a few days. It gave her daughter a break, and more time for her to be with even more family. We all took the opportunity given to love on her. Yes, it was tiring, but being tired isn’t always a bad thing!

I am not perfect at this by any means, but I am learning to lean on Him even more. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, that love never fails, so when in doubt, I try to discover the most loving thing I can do. I marvel at God’s hand in our lives for this moment. Our situation is unique, as we were not raised together. But God in His mercy brought us together when I was sixteen. Perhaps, He reunited us so many years ago, so I could be a help during this tough time.

I want to encourage all of us to be available for the God opportunities He brings our ways. I believe if we clothe ourselves with HIs righteousness, mercy, gentleness etc, it will prepare us for those opportunities much more easily than if we walk in haughty pride and arrogance, for example. He is waiting to use us. I am grateful I can love on my sister and her family. It is a good thing, In this case, the opportunity came to love on my sister and her family, but as we look around and allow the Lord to tenderize our hearts we find opportunities everywhere.

Father, help us understand the importance of clothing ourselves with your tenderhearted mercies. Help us value what you value, and honor what you honor. I know that as we choose to wear these tenderhearted mercies, it will open opportunities to love and minister to others. This is not a small thing in Your sight.

Faith and Thoughts on The Gift of Encouragement

Have you ever wanted to do something “significant”? There is a very simple way you can touch people’s life: become an encourager. Become a person who adds hope to the hopeless. Courage to the weak-hearted. Add confidence to those who are full of self-doubt and support to those who need a hand at their back. This gift, when freely given out of love and care, yields so much fruit. I encourage you to look for the struggling ones and encourage them, but also for those who are working hard to do well. Everyone can use encouragement.

I Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up. Paul gave this exhortation to each one of us! Not one person is exempt, but it is also something we can all do. If you can speak, you can encourage!

One thing I have had to do lately is navigate helping Shield of Faith Ministries after my friend Bill, the president, passed. This led me to deal with some lawyers in figuring out what all needs to be done. As I was talking with them on Monday, I was also carrying the heavy situation of my brother-in-law, who suffered a massive stroke and was in his last hours. I could tell I was distracted during the conversation, so I finally mentioned it to them. The chief lawyer, Sidney, confessed to me that his wife had passed in December. I knew the other lawyer had lost his brother-in-law just a few weeks before. So we just encouraged ourselves with the fact we all understood grief. Ruben, the other lawyer, did not leave it there. He texted me encouraging words this morning. I responded, and then he called. The Holy Spirit led him to call and share some scripture and his story. We don’t even know each other—but God stepped in and through him, strengthened me. He didn’t have to make the call, but he went out of his way to do so.

But the back story to his phone call, was a group of ladies (my life group) praying for me last night, asking God for help and encouragement. I reached out to my daughter this morning, and as she was in the midst in the middle of praying for me, Ruben called. I had called out to the Lord, help me please, and He sent people to encourage me. I opened the gift of encouragement they gave! Sometimes in our own times of hopelessness, self-doubt or weakness we struggle to receive his encouragement. We must be open to surrounding encouragers, for they are there.

I will honestly admit sometimes others have tried to “encourage” me, but in my pride, my hurt or misunderstanding, I did not let it touch my heart. God sent them, but I kept the gift closed. Then felt sorry for myself that I didn’t have encouragement! How silly, it took the Holy Spirit’s grace to show me where I was wrong. One time, I actually asked the Lord to show me my expectations, and I realized they were not realistic! As I prayed, He gently realigned my expectations for encouragement.

The gift of encouragement comes alongside to bring strength, hope and confidence that you can accomplish the task at hand. It does not take over and do it for you. Friends, let us determine to both give and receive encouragement.

Father, I thank you for the gift of encouragement. I ask you to help us, as we learn to be encouragers. I ask you to help us receive encouragement, even if it is not exactly like we think we need. I thank you for the Holy Spirit working your encouragement through your Word and through your body so we can be strong in your ways. I speak against discouragement in any shape or form, and release hope, strength and confidence in you and yours ways. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Faith and The Blessings of Holiness

Congratulations on opening up this blog. The word ‘holiness’ is oft putting for many. I think we see it as restrictive and difficult to achieve anyway, so why try? But I think our carnal mind along with strategic satanic lies have robbed us of the blessing that comes from holy living. Holy living is a decision to choose to surrender your life to the Lord and live separate from the world. Our salvation was a free gift that we receive by faith. Holiness is something we choose to partner with the Holy Spirit to accomplish. 1 Peter 1: 15: as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.

Our salvation is a gift from our precious Savior, while holiness is almost like a gift we give back to Him. It is something we, as believers, are all asked to do, but it is our choice. A choice not everyone makes, and that is sad. Holy living is a decision to live our lives set apart for His use. It is a decision to put off the things of this world and wear our robes of righteousness in a way that pleases Him. We must change our mindset that walking in holiness means all the things we can’t do–like the old saying ‘you can’t smoke, cuss and chew or go with girls that do’. We know that smoking is bad for you, that cussing substitutes for bad communication skills, and chewing tobacco can give you cancer and walking with those who are like-minded will help you go ahead in the things of the Lord than walking closely with those who don’t care. But it is so much more than those type of restrictions.

One blessing of holiness is it forces us to rely on the power of God. We learn to lean on Him and His ways. Drawing near to Him, in faith, that He is there to help you, not condemn you, is the beginning of enjoying your relationship with Jesus. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 16:11. You will show me the path of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. The closer we draw near to Him, the more we get to enjoy those pleasures. Remember, God encompasses all the fruits of His Spirit. By walking close to Him, we get to partake of those fruits in our lives.

Life with Jesus can be an adventure. During our wedding, the pastor exhorted us from John 2 and the wedding at Cana. Jesus’ mother told the servants, “whatever he tells you to do, do it”. We took that as our life verse and marriage direction. We began by seeking to read the Word and obeying it. When we had decisions to make, we sought the Lord and His will. Following Him and His ways opened doors we never imagined could have happened. Meeting people and experiencing the cultures of Jamaica, England and Ghana plus getting to know varied regions of our own country are results of learning to follow Him and His ways. It started by choosing to live a holy (separate) life unto Him.

His holy ways lead you away from harmful activities and into healthier ones. Learning to forgive, letting go of bitterness and hatred, staying away from addictions all lead to a happier, healthier life. Do not fall for the lie that a holy life is a boring life. It actually opens up opportunities that actually fulfill your purpose in life. When we choose to be “set a part” for Him, it causes us to trust Him more. Trust in the Lord, and do good, dwell in the land and feed on his faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:7 Yes, we turn away from the ‘bad’ things like selfishness, greed and the other works of the flesh but we reap the benefits of the ‘good’ things.

If you find yourself hesitant to try the blessing of holiness, could it possibly be because you have not taken the time to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’? Feasting on His word and His ways lead us to understand His heart and His purpose in our life. As we learn to walk in this holiness, we become people who glorify Him more. We all want to be around people who are trustworthy, exhibit the fruit of the spirit and share the love of God freely -we can all become those people. Remember, we do it with His grace and His mercy, and of course His power. Let’s make holiness great again!

Father, please help us not be afraid of the word “holy”. Please teach us to trust you as we move toward this amazing calling. Help us in our weak areas, in Jesus Name, amen.

Faith and Servanthood

One of the amazing and often puzzling things about the Christian life is titles. Moses, an outstanding leader who led 600,000 men plus women and children out of slavery in Egypt, through the wilderness and up to entering the Promised Land, was called the servant of God. Abraham was called the friend of God. These are not lofty supreme titles, on the contrary they are humble and, unless viewed from God’s perspective, rather bland. I think our culture thinks oh, well anyone can be a servant and a friend. No big deal. But that is not how God views it.

But dear ones, they are actually the two best titles that, as believers, we can all achieve. Moses learned to serve the Lord His whole life. Jochebed (his mom) and Amram (his dad) must have done something very right during the few years they had direct access to raising Moses. They installed an identity that did not disappear when he moved into the palace. It is true that he had lessons to learn about how to be a leader in overcoming his insecurities and fears, but he did it! Granted, it was not always easy for him, but he learned and grew. We can too.

Can you say out loud, right now, ‘I, (Martha) am a servant of God’? How does that sound to your ears? Good? Bad? Difficult? Maybe elevate it to ‘I, (Martha) am a servant of the Most High God’? I will listen and obey. I choose to serve Him. Did you put your name in? Did you say it out loud? Now what? Whew ok, that’s good. I can do that. I can serve Him. He is loving, faithful and patient. But then He begins by asking us to serve others. People we may think don’t deserve our service. People who may have hurt us. People who don’t act lovely or much less appreciative. Then it begins to be a bit more difficult. Reality sets in. Serving can be hard. Moses served when the people rebelled against him. He served when they turned their backs on the True God and made false idols. He served when they did not trust God enough to enter the Promised Land, and it cost Moses forty years of leading them in the wilderness. He did not stop serving them.

Luke 22 sets the scene of the Last Supper. Jesus is sharing difficult things about betrayal and suffering. The disciples (his close friends) began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, In this world kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:24-27)

Our culture disdains servants. It is imperative to change this perspective. How do you treat those who serve you? The servers, baristas, receptionists at the doctor’s office—do you see them as beneath you? Or do you respect their position and honor them as they serve you? If you struggle in this area, ask the Lord to help you. It will also help you in your service to Him.

We must become learners. We must learn that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Yesterday I felt prompted to make a phone call, even though I knew I did not have all the information I needed to give the individual. I struggled a bit, but as I obeyed, I discovered the phone call was an answer to prayer for that person. God gave me the words he needed to hear, outside of the topic I called him about. Simple obedience left us both blessed. We must learn to put the Master’s voice above our own thoughts and our own ways. Difficult, but doable. Servants must set themselves to be learners. Learn about those He has asked you to serve. Hear their hearts and learn to trust Him in the process. Are you ready to serve those He asks you to serve the way He asks you to do it? No matter who they are? No matter their situation? Are you ready to serve your children? Your spouse? Your employees? Your employer? You church? With great attitudes? Get ready to learn some lessons, but also be ready to reap much fruit.

Father, I ask you to teach us about what it means to be a servant. Help us trust that serving you, no matter how difficult, yields much fruit. As we serve others, I thank you that we will be examples of the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. (I Timothy4:12) That you will help us not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, but we will see ourselves as you see us. I thank you for raising up servants that represent You and Your Kingdom well, in Jesus Name Amen

Faith and Remembering to Be Child like!

Have you ever been under the weather? Feeling out of sorts and out of control? This past week, my body succumbed to a cold virus shared by my grandchildren. It has left me feeling weak, wimpy and frustrated. As I prayed for myself and my other afflicted family members, I was so grateful to know we weren’t fighting Covid. While I knew and know that recovery is on its way, I battled with my mind about the “right” way to walk when you aren’t feeling well. Guilt and shame come too quickly with condemnation and discouragement attempting to take up space where rest should be. The battle is often, ‘if I only had more faith…then I wouldn’t be ill, or I would speak the word and get up and go, etc.’ I normally write this blog on Thursdays. Yesterday, I couldn’t. My brain wouldn’t focus. So I had to put it aside and trust it to another day. I chose to walk in peace and the needed rest I had to take. I realize we (I) often make things too complicated. Maybe all we need to do is walk in childlike faith.

When my children were small and not feeling well, it was hard. I wanted them well quickly. It was hard to watch them suffer. As a mother, I would encourage them to rest, give them any needed meds, pray for healing and trust their bodies would recover. Thinking back, they just trusted me. They weren’t worried about the why’s or the wherefores of being sick, they just trusted the process. It is true, by God’s grace and mercy, we never faced long-term illnesses, but we had bouts of mononucleosis, a broken arm and some ear infections that stretched my faith and my patience.

Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. (Mark 10:14) Learning to put our childlike faith into practice during sick times, may be the best lesson we can learn. Having childlike faith does not mean that you cannot ask questions. Ask any mom or dad of a small child—they ask questions all the time! They trust their parent to give them the truth. We should trust the Lord to lead us into His truth about our health issues. He may show us areas where we need to make changes, and we need to be careful that we don’t react with childishness!

As an adult, with this passing illness, I choose to rest in His love. When small children are ill, they come to their parent. Snuggles and comfort are often just what they need. It is the same for me. As I rest in His love, I am allowing His healing presence to move in my mind, my soul and my body. I trust Him to show me what to do. Call the doctor? Drink water? Take a nap? Let my friend bring me some soup? I am choosing to humble myself and trust Him, while remembering His healing power and His healing promises. I am much better today. Just need to build back my stamina. His words of wisdom for me are to walk in His rhythm of grace and trust. I have nothing to prove. I release my faith and simply walk with Him.